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Utah Music Festival offers summer camps

The Utah Music Festival and School’s goal is to be a resource for local music students to continue playing throughout the summer.

That’s why the festival and school is offering music summer camps at Weilenmann School of Discovery from July 5 through Aug. 28.

Eric Samuels, who along with his wife Alison founded the UMFS, said summer is a time where kids can flourish in music.

"They can focus on their instruments without having to deal with school," Samuels said during an interview. "We hear of students turning in their instruments during the summer, and that doesn’t make sense. We would like to see them play year around."

The UMFS summer camp is available to any Suzuki-method musician from the first grade through college, something that is different than in the past, Samuels said.

The Suzuki philosophy is a nurturing school of thought based upon the idea that children can speak before they learn to read, therefore anyone can learn to play an instrument before learning to read notes.

Samuels wanted to make sure everyone knew the camps are not just string camps.

"Most people connect with the Suzuki method through string instruments, but there is a Suzuki approach to piano, flute, voice and guitar," he said. "Our festival has always emphasized mixed instruments. It’s not just for strings, but also for guitar, harp, woodwinds, brass, piano and voice.

"We’re catering to a larger student body this time around," he said. "We used to focus mainly on high school, college and the young-career groups. Now, we’re reaching out to the eight-year-old crowd, which is a lot of fun."

Weilenmann music teacher Devon Colby is responsible for the age shift, Samuels said.

"She has been instrumental, not to use a pun, in working with the little Suzuki-trained kids," he said. "She’s also helped us connect with more than 200 Suzuki teachers up and down the Wasatch front. So we’ve got college students and graduate students, as well as the older professionals, who will help mentor the little ones."

The summer camp sessions are offered up to five days a week, Samuels said.

"We would like the students to come at least two days a week, so we and they can feel like we’re getting something accomplished," he said. "It will be varied with the younger crowd because we’re offering a morning session from 9 a.m. to noon and an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., with a recreation period in between.

"We’re trying to make it convenient to all those parents who have their children in a variety of summer activities," he said

The sessions will include music theory, musicology, music appreciation and regular music classes.

"All of us will also get to play together," he said. "We’ll put the students with the faculty in groups and work with them throughout a week and then put on several concerts at the end of the week."

In addition, the students will get the opportunity to attend Utah Symphony concerts and Mountain Town Stages events, Samuels said.

"We want them to enjoy live music and go to concerts," he said. "We’re trying to help their concentration level go beyond the 3-minute, 42-second pop song they usually hear on their iPod."

The Utah Music Festival and School summer camps will run from July 5 through Aug. 28. A one-week session is $400. Housing is also available for an additional $75. Applications can be found at http://www.utahmusic.org . For more information, visit http://www.utahmusic.org or call (435) 640-9393.


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